McKay used book superstore expands to Nashville

"That's the McKay Way," commented assistant manager of McKay Used Books and CDs, Paula Pickett.  Picket explained, "McKay fosters an environment of continual learning.  For instance, new staff assigned to the position which receives store inventory are trained for several weeks to prepare them for the job demands."

A Little McKay History

McKay Used Books and CDs arrived in Nashville in September of 2007. The 18,000-square-foot Nashville store buys, sells and trades CDs and books. The store is stocked with more than 100,000 items and is located at the corner of Charlotte Pike and White Bridge Road, marking it the fourth store opening by owner Anne Jacobson. The original McKay store, called Edward McKay, was opened in North Carolina (1975) by Jacobson and her husband. 

"We were hippies back then and wanted to start a university. We considered the main part of a university to be its library, and thus started a used bookstore," Jacobson said.

Jacobson launched her second store in 1985 in Knoxville, after parting ways with her husband, and a third store in Chattanooga in the late 80s. Jacobson opened the Nashville store at the request of numerous Nashvillians visiting her Knoxville and Chattanooga locations. She has no further plans for expansion at the moment. Jacobson now owns the Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville stores. The North Carolina chain is owned by her former husband. 

McKay's Nashville Impact 

"McKay's," the term affectionately utilized by store personnel, buys, sells and trades books, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes and video games. All store stock is provided by the local public, and all items acquired by the store are sold in that store. According to Jacobson, the Nashville store is buying about 4,000 to 5,000 items per day from customers and is off to a strong start since its opening.

Pickett said, "A day doesn't go by that I don't hear about someone discovering McKay. People are continuing to learn we are here [in Nashville]." 

Jacobson added, "I was surprised the CD store [in Nashville] does so well, even more so than the books. The audio/visual people found us first, and the book people are following."    

How McKay Works...

McKay's business model involves buying inventory from the public. Customers bring in books, CDs, movies and games they no longer want, and are offered trade dollars or cash. The process is highly structured; the customer sorts and places media items in a bin, which is fed via a conveyor belt for staff to sort, evaluate and price. The customer receives a ticket when 'checking-in the items' at the desk and may view the status of the order on an automated board. Once the item number appears on the board, the order is ready and the option of trade dollars or cash is presented.

What's New at McKay

As a result of employee interest, McKay now buys and trades vinyl records. Jacobson noted, "I found through interviewing staff, that several of them shared a common interest... collecting vinyl records."  All three stores now carry vinyl records. 

When asked after all this time whether she still enjoyed the book business, Jacobson said, "Yes! The staff and I enjoy seeing what comes through the door. The lure in this business is seeing the new inventory. You just never know what you'll get."

Diversity at McKay's

McKay Used Books and CDs has been a long time advertiser in Out & About Newspaper. Jacobson confirmed the GLBT community is definitely a part of her customer base. She also noted she carries gay studies and gay fiction sections in her stores.

McKay Used Books and CDs is located at 5708 Charlotte Pike in Nashville.

Store Hours:
Monday - Saturday : 10am - 8pm
Sunday : 11am - 7pm

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

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